A growing number of cable companies are implementing data caps (sorry — “data thresholds”), which put limits on how much data a subscriber could use before facing penalties ranging from warning messages to throttled speeds to overage fees. A new report from the federal Government Accountability Office says that lack of competition in the broadband market could result in these caps being implemented with no one benefiting other than cable companies’ bottom lines.
The newly released GAO report [PDF] looked at both wireless broadband and fixed broadband and noted some important differences in the ways that the two different types of data delivery use data caps (or “Usage Based Pricing” [UBP]).
The four major wireless all offer some form of UBP, charging overage fees or throttling speeds for users in capped plans who go beyond their monthly allotments, but only seven of the 13 fixed broadband providers looked at by the GAO currently use data caps.
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